Australia, England unite to remember fallen heroes
They are our modern-day gladiators set to do battle in the early hours of Monday morning but players from both Australia and England have united to remember fallen war heroes in a moving ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park in London.
England can secure a place in the Four Nations final with a win over the Kangaroos at London Stadium at 1am Monday morning AEDT but stood beside their counterparts on Remembrance Day to honour the sacrifices made by those who served their country in battle and never returned.
Kangaroos five-eighth Johnathan Thurston said that the fact two former Australian rugby league representatives are among those who lost their lives at war made the ceremony even more significant.
"It's great that we could come here and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for what we have today," Thurston said.
"It was a very touching ceremony and I know the boys really appreciate it.
"We had two former Kangaroos that served in World War I, Bob Tidyman and Frank Cheadle. To know that those two former Kangaroos paid that ultimate sacrifice for us is pretty moving."
England captain Sam Burgess and coach Wayne Bennett led the English representation at the ceremony and Burgess said the emotions that were stirred will carry through into his team's must-win game against the Kangaroos.
"I think everyone appreciates it and makes us look forward to Sunday even a little bit more now," Burgess said.
"It's certainly got the blood flowing. It was quite an emotional ceremony and the boys really enjoyed that.
"There are a lot of guys in our team that have spent a lot of time in Australia and although there is a fierce rivalry in many sporting codes there's also a thing that binds us together.
"It's quite amazing that we can put sport aside on days like today."
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and ARLC Chairman John Grant were also in attendance and Grant expressed his great appreciation that they were able to be in England for such a poignant occasion.
"This is a message not just about from an Australian point of view but we had the English team here as well and it's a powerful message in terms of the two nationsm," Grant said.
"To be able to recognise what has gone on historically and what continues to go on, it's a very big opportunity for us and I think we've done a good job."